The Rise of Light Pollution

Light pollution is a major side-effect of urbanisation. Lighting accounts for 1/4 of energy consumption worldwide and with more people living in cities/towns than ever before, this fraction is likely to increase. Yet more emphasis is placed on other urbanisation side effects such as air and noise pollution. Light pollution refers to the spread of light into places where it is neither wanted nor needed, which becomes a problem at night time. According to Kamiel Spoelstra, a post-doctoral fellow at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology, the night sky is has become “increasingly more illuminated”.

So what does this mean for us? The most obvious impact of light pollution is the inability to see stars in the night sky. Star-gazing and Astronomy are sensitive to light pollution; looking at the night sky from a city is totally different experience from viewing the sky from a truly dark sky. Sky glow makes fainter objects hard to see from cities, an example of sky glow can be seen below.

Even more STARtling (i just couldn’t resist), a recent study found that light pollution is “causing spring to come a week earlier”. Findings from the journal Proceedings Of The Royal Society B say bud-burst in trees occur 7.5 days earlier in brighter areas. One less week of winter might sound great but this has major repercussions for ecosystem and the insects and animals who depend on it for food and shelter.

As mentioned earlier, lighting accounts for one quarter of energy consumption, energy waste is a major impact of Light pollution. Attitudes towards energy waste are beginning to change especially after the historic agreement which took place in Paris in November 2015. 196 state governments stood in unison and agreed that we MUST change our behaviour and attitudes towards the environment and incorporate sustainable sources of energy into society.

Here at Vorganise we place much emphasis and pride in the fact that our electronic paper displays do not emit any light, and for good reason. Electronic paper reflects light instead of emitting it, which in turn increases its readability, as it allows our eyes to process the display quicker. It also uses 99% less energy than lighting emitting LCD alternatives. Vorganise’s electronic paper solutions are one small step for man, but one giant leap for humanity, in the journey towards tackling light pollution!

What electronic paper does, and does very well, is offer itself as an ethical alternative to current traditional and digital signage solutions. An alternative, that doesn’t require a tree to lose its life every time you want to display new information. An alternative, that doesn’t require you to force feed your device its charger every other hour. An alternative, that gives you the flexibility to update your display instantly. Electronic paper is that alternative and then some!

The time for such an alternative is Now.

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